Denver International Airport

An overnight ‘ride-along’ with United Airlines

My overnight ‘ride-along’ last week with United Airlines at Denver International Airport was exhausting – but exhilarating and extremely educational.

I’m working on a full-length slide show (so far, I’ve got 60 photo keepers) and report for my next At the Airport column on USA TODAY,  but sharing a few snaps today here on StuckatTheAirport.com to get the ball rolling.

At around 10 pm, my tour started at United’s Station Operations Center – a darkened room where about 50 people were seated in clusters at desks with multiple computer screens doing everything from making sure passengers made their connections to monitoring weather and  gate assignments.

Then it was off to the maintenance hangar, where 8 airplanes were undergoing service checks and repairs, included an engine swap for an Airbus 319.

 

While in the hangar, another airplane was visited by a fast-moving cleaning crew, who were doing everything from cleaning the lavs and galley (with different rags and cleaning solutions) to making sure seat back literature was refreshed and the tray tables were washed.

 

At 3 am it was back to the Station Operations Center, which was pretty much empty, except for Zone Controller Mike Lowrey, who I’d met earlier in the evening. He was checking with maintenance to see if all the planes they’d been working on overnight were ready for morning flights and doing what he could to make sure the first flights of the day would leave on time.

 

3:47 a.m. : A quick look in the concourse to see if anything was happening. Nothing. Yet.

The Flight Operations Center opens at 6 a.m.  That where captains and first officers such as Michael Daigneault can pick up supplies and plan for their flights.

My flight back to Seattle left, on time, at 8:08 a.m. I even got a set of plastic wings from the crew.

My full report on my overnight ride-along with United Airlines at Denver International Airport will show up during the week on USA TODAY.

 

 

Rocky Mountain High: Denver Int’l Airport celebrates Colorado Music

A new exhibit at Denver International Airport celebrates Colorado Music – and about 25 of the artists from the state who have made an impact in the music world.

The exhibit include objects related to music legend John Denver, of course, but also Glenn Miller, Joe Walsh, Judy Collins, Big Head Todd & the Monsters and Chris Daniels.

The Colorado Music Hall of Fame and the John Denver Estate are among the sponsors of the exhibit, which features instruments, records, sheet music, handwritten lyrics, photography, costumes and more.

And check out this album from … The Astronauts – a Colorado-based band from the 1960s.

Look for the exhibit in Denver International Airports’ Ansbacher Hall, in Jeppesen Terminal, approaching A Bridge Security until October.

 

Fresh – folded – art at Denver International Airport

The newest art exhibit at Denver International Airport features a zoo’s worth of miniature to life-size origami animals made by noted origami artists from around the world.

The intricate artwork is made using a variety of different mediums, including paper, of course, but also copper and canvas. Look for this exhibit in the Terminal Gallery on level 5 west of the Jeppesen Terminal, near the north security checkpoint through September.

Here are some more images of the artwork, courtesy of Denver International Airport

 

At Denver Int’l Airport: Mini-golf, rock-climbing, more

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Denver International Airport has released the line-up for the “Events at DEN” series that will take place throughout the summer, fall and winter out on the covered plaza connecting the main terminal and the Westin hotel.

If you’re landing in Denver and taking the train into town (and you should), you’ll be passing right by these events, so take note and plan to spend some extra time having fun at the airport.

Here’s the run-down:

May 19: Jazzfest: A free jazz concert stretching from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. with a variety of Colorado bands, including Dotsero, the Mary Louise Lee band and the Hazel Miller Band. 

June 1- 30: Putt-Putt on the Plaza. This was a success last year, so DEN is bringing back a free 18-hole miniature golf course. Hours: 10 a.m to 7 p.m. daily. Show an ID to get a putter, golf ball and scorecard.

August 1 – 20: Colorado Adventures: From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, head to the DEN Plaza for zip-lining, a rock climbing wall and a virtual fly fishing experience.

Sept. 28 – Oct. 9: 4th Annual Beer Flights: Coinciding with Oktoberfest celebrations and the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, DEN’s beer garden will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with happy hour entertainment performances daily 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Admission includes a souvenir glass to taste your samples.

 Nov. 24 – Jan. 7: Ice skating. Free ice skating was popular last year, so that’s going to come back again this year – but bigger, with entertainment. Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Visit National Parks at Denver Int’l Airport

 

It’s a fair bet that you won’t have time to visit all four of Colorado’s national parks on your next trip to the Centennial State.

And it’s a fair bet that, like me, you can’t even name Colorado’s four national parks.

For the record they are: Mesa Verde National Park (Cortez and Mancos); Rocky Mountain National Park (East Park and Grand Lake); Grand Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, in Mosca;  Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, in Montrose – not to mention the historic sites and spaces dubbed ‘monuments.’

 

So it’s good to know that Denver International Airport (DEN) has an exhibition celebrating the state’s four very diverse National Parks – which have dunes, deserts, canyons and mountains – at the Ansbacher Hall in the Jeppesen Terminal, Level 6 north before A Bridge Security.

The exhibit has images, objects and artifacts offering historical, education and recreational facts unique to each park and provides scenic murals where travelers can take photos “inside” all four of Colorado’s national parks. (Is that cheating?)

(Photos courtesy Denver International Airport)